Book People Archive

DerSpiegel: Weimar's Duchess Anna Amalia Library Re-Opens

[NOTE: When I started reading this, I thought Der Spiegel was repeating
 an earlier story it had published. But it's not quite identical to "The
 Books Are Back: Weimar's Anna Amalia Library To Re-Open" (10/04/2007),
  which is linked at the bottom of this story.    jf]


October 22, 2007 | Der Spiegel

Weimar's Duchess Anna Amalia Library Re-Opens

By Malte Herwig

Three years after a massive fire destroyed much of the Duchess Anna 
Amalia Library in Weimar, the Rococo gem is set to re-open its doors 
this Wednesday. The fire at the library, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, 
has given Germany fresh impetus to preserve its cultural heritage.

The burnt-out ruins made a harrowing impression on eye-witnesses. Only 
the charred outer walls had survived the "gnawing rage of the flames," 
wrote Romantic poet Christoph Martin Wieland -- they were now 
reminiscent of "Troy laid to waste." Even Goethe shuddered at the sight 
of the "horrific ruins" -- all that remained of Weimar Castle after the 
fire of 1774.

But it could have been worse: The castle's famous book collection was 
spared. Duchess Anna Amalia (1739-1807) had ordered it to be moved to 
the refurbished Green Castle only a few years before. And the famous 
library named after her is still located there today. Thousands of 
precious books remained unscathed for more than two centuries -- only to 
be destroyed by a huge fire on Sept. 2, 2004. The books had been 
scheduled to be moved to a new depot only a few weeks later.